Laguna Beach is first Orange County city to enact plastic bag ban

If you’re shopping in Laguna Beach, don’t expect to hear a grocery clerk ask you if you'd like a paper or plastic bag -- that second option is now illegal.

Laguna Beach is the first city in Orange County to enact a plastic bag ban and joins a host of others such as Pasadena and Long Beach in prohibiting single-use plastic bags in store checkout lines. Los Angeles is in the process of phasing out plastic bags.

As of Jan. 1, most retail stores in the beach city of about 22,000 are prohibited from providing customers with single-use plastic bags. Bags used for produce or meat are exempt, according to the city’s website.

The ordinance does not apply to restaurants, take-out food establishments, food vendors or food trucks, according to the city’s website.

Grocery, drug and liquor stores, pharmacies, marts and gas stations are required to provide recycled paper bags or reusable bags to customers. Each paper bag will cost 10 cents.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance has taken issue with the ban. The group, which represents the plastic bag manufacturing sector, released a statement calling the ordinance and those like it “feel-good legislation.”

“Laguna Beach’s plastic bag ban and paper bag tax will not only hurt consumers’ pockets but also push them toward less sustainable alternatives,” said Mark Daniels, the chair of the alliance, in a statement.

A first violation results in a written “courtesy” citation. A second violation will trigger a $100 fine.

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Nicole Santa Cruz.

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